Meredith Hawkins

by Meredith Hawkins


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Non-Communicable Disease: Global Epidemic

While Communicable Diseases have traditionally been responsible for the majority of morbidity and mortality in low and middle income countries (LMIC), a rapid shift from rural, agrarian to urban, sedentary lifestyles has resulted in a dramatic rise in the burden of Non-Communicable Disease in these countries. Hence, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and other non-communicable diseases are rapidly reaching epidemic proportions. This poses considerable burdens on the already limited health care resources. Not only are health care professionals in short supply, but their training in the complex management of non-communicable diseases is seriously lacking. Furthermore, certain non-communicable diseases present differently in LMIC countries, including ‘malnutrition diabetes’, a poorly understood entity that probably affects millions of people globally. This highlights the need for new and innovative approaches to treat non-communicable diseases, as well as an understanding of traditional lifestyles and cultures. The ideal approach to prevention of non-communicable diseases in various traditional settings would be to develop cultural sensitivity and understanding, to encourage people to maintain some aspects of their more active ancestral lifestyles and avoid the diseases of modernization.

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